Planning food for lunch boxes is just as important as planning dinners

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

You all know I am a huge fan of meal planning.  At the beginning of each week I sit down and organise what meals we will have for the week and then do one big grocery shop. However, this year I am trying to make more of an effort to plan the kids lunch box food as well.  I always have had healthy food choices in the kids lunch boxes, but planning will ensure I will always have enough for the week.  To do this I am going to plan the kids lunch box foods when I do our meal planning with my new Lunch Box Planner.

{The Organised Housewife} Lunchbox Planner

The twins (soon to be 10) have become very independent over the past few months and they are now making their own lunches.  After I have planned their lunch box food for the week I am going to place the printable on the back of the cupboard door  where their lunch boxes are kept so they can read what they need to pack for lunch.  After I have created a few weeks of lunch box plans, I will rotate them each week to save on planning time.

I keep all ‘lunch box’ food in an easy pull out fridge drawer, where the kids will find cut up fruit and vegetables, deli meats for sandwiches, poppers (only on very hot days), diced cheese, cucumber and more.

Whole pieces of fruit are kept in the fruit crisper

So far this week this new setup has been working really well and making lunch box prep time so much faster and easier.  I also think this may save on our grocery bill.

On my lunch box plan above I have added Fruit Salad on Friday, but I will change this to a Monday.  I usually do my grocery shopping on a Monday after school drop off, so when preparing their lunches on Monday morning I can create a fruit salad cup filled with all left over fruit from the prior week.

Lunchbox foods in fridge – Fridge Binz – Deep Split – Howards Storage World

Fruit crisper – Decor  Square containers – Most Department and Grocery Stores

Storing precut fruit and vegetables – Clear Mates and FridgeSmarts – Tupperware

 

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23 comments

PaulineN February 6, 2013 - 7:10 AM

Fantastic ideas for lunch box prep. How long does cut up watermelon or other fruit last in the containers? I find watermelon goes a bit blah a day or so after cutting?

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Mishelle Smethurst February 6, 2013 - 11:45 AM

If you put it in Tupperware fridgesmarts, I’d normally get at least a week. (I do go in every few days to drain the liquid that builds up though)

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Katrina February 8, 2013 - 5:40 AM

I cut the watermelon up the day I buy it, usually only takes a few minutes, it rarely lasts any longer than 2 days in the fridge before its eaten, either as snacks or added to lunch boxes. But I agree watermelon is just one of those fruits that needs to be eaten quickly. I find we eat more fruit when it’s pre cut.

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Liz Hawkins February 6, 2013 - 9:19 AM

OMGoodness!! I can’t explain how excited I get looking at these pictures LOL!!

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Katrina February 8, 2013 - 5:40 AM

LOL, if you like me I love seeing how other people do things, so I can understand 😉

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Evon Johnson February 6, 2013 - 9:30 AM

It’s like you’re reading my mind LOL I’ve been thinking about this and now I can actually do it … thanks! :O)

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Niki Jonesano February 6, 2013 - 11:34 AM

I absolutely love this post. I can not stress the importance of a good lunch for kids. It is my ‘thing’ if you know what I mean, I put as much, if not more time, into lunch boxes than dinner. I can not stand the thought of my kids hyped up on chemicals, colours etc. Funnily enough it is nearly impossible to do lunch boxes without these nasty’s. I am forever learning & looking up new things. I have a nearly 17 year old, all the way down to a 6 year old & I still take care of their lunch supplies, the older boys can get their own, but like you I always have a great range of foods for them to choose from, now if I could just get as passionate about the dinners, ha.

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Andrea Kruck February 6, 2013 - 12:09 PM

Good lord you are a freak (I mean this in the nicest possible way!) I don’t know how you get the time to do all of this stuff? I would love for my house to be cleaner and more organised but I spend the whole day chasing my tail and never get anything done!

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juli June 14, 2015 - 5:28 PM

Me too. 4 kids under 9 is non-stop chaos

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Peta McDaniel February 6, 2013 - 12:10 PM

🙁 Looks like Howards don’t do the Deep Split anymore??

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Katrina February 8, 2013 - 5:50 AM

They should do Peta, I just couldn’t find a link to it on their website, but you will definitely find it instore, they have quite a good selection of sizes to organise your fridge.

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jenny February 6, 2013 - 12:35 PM

This is a BRILLIANT idea. With 5 kids i always stuggle to have enough for everyone to have the same thing. I love the idea of a plan! (why didnt i think of that!!!)

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Maree Weeks February 6, 2013 - 1:26 PM

Love it! Only need to worry about two lunches a week for school, but should do it for me at home!

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Katrina February 8, 2013 - 5:50 AM

That’s a great idea Maree, might make me eat and snack more healthily.

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mel February 6, 2013 - 9:19 PM

Love this idea. Would love some ideas on what to pack in a lunchbox to fill the tummies of my always hungry kids. 🙂

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Julia K February 8, 2013 - 12:14 PM

I have four kids – three at school and one grown up.Each day their lunch box contains 5 things:

1) Main item ie a sandwich / wrap / dinner leftovers eg fried rice,

2) fruit (usually fresh but sometimes tinned depending on availability)

3) savoury snack (vegie sticks / crackers / dip / savoury muffin)

4) sweet treat (cupcake, banana bread, muffin or cookies)

5) calcium hit (yoghurt / flavoured milk or cheese).
We are very lucky in that all our classrooms have fridges for lunchboxes. I try and make lunches the day before while my kids are eating their afternoon tea. They take their lunch out of the fridge in the morning and it goes straight into the school fridge.

I have made a list of favourite foods in each of these five categories and it makes it easier to throw the lunches together quickly and ensures they get plenty of variety. This works well for me.
Our school tuck shop operates on two days per week. I usually let them have tuckshop once or twice a term as a treat. They had it today and my goodness – it came to about $25 !!!!! Now that there are three of them at school – it may only be once a term !

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Another Mum May 3, 2013 - 7:16 PM

Would love to see your plans on what you have feed your kids. With one now at school doing lunch boxes is a new thing (he was feed good food at daycare). Need inspiration!

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Louise July 8, 2013 - 6:30 PM

Do you leave the precut fruit and the deli meat in the fridge all week?

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Desma September 3, 2014 - 12:55 PM

Do you have a plan for toddler day meals too? I’m always stumped for ideas

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Katrina September 5, 2014 - 12:25 PM

Hi Desma, I love the book The Complete Vegie Smugglers Lunchbox Planner. I have included a link for you on my shop: https://theorganisedhousewife.com.au/shop/product/the-complete-vegie-smugglers-lunchbox-planner/

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Karyn September 19, 2014 - 7:42 AM

Hi
I love this idea and it really works well with vegetables for dinners.
I work afternoons so my husbands cooks dinner, every Sunday when I cook dinner, I cut broccoli, cauliflower, top and tail beans, etc… Store them in the fridge mates and each night its easy to (without the mess) take a handful of each and veggies are on the plates!

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife September 19, 2014 - 10:11 AM

Fantastic work Karyn!! I love that you are so organised!.:)

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